Lockdown cost UK bingo halls millions

The closure of bingo halls, job losses and the rise of the online bingo industry are some of the consequences that Covid-19 has brought with it 

The response to the COVID-19 lockdowns has significantly affected the bingo industry in the UK with numerous bingo halls that were forced to close. This country has experienced three lockdowns since March 2020 along with strict restrictions and measures enforced to slow the spread of the virus. The closure of indoor entertainment and visitor attractions including the bingo halls are among the stringent measures introduced. Although the drawn-up different lockdown periods ended on July 19, 2021, allowing the bingo halls to re-open, a challenging year for the British bingo industry has started. The lockdown has significantly impacted this sector costing the operators millions of losses.

Covid-19 consequences

- The closure of bingo halls

The bingo operators have slumped to loss after Covid restrictions shut venues. As new rules came into force during the Coronavirus lockdown measures, the casinos and bingo halls across the country were ordered to close. As the bingo halls are among the indoor entertainment venues, these premises remained closed throughout the third national lockdown on May 2021. With more than 350 bingo clubs and halls across the UK, the operators have to struggle to survive leading to the loss of thousands of jobs. Even though the Brits can play with a minimum 1 pound deposit on bingo, they were disappointed owing to the measures that significantly affect their revenues. For example, Rank Group, the owner of Mecca Bingo has revealed heavy annual losses after a year in which lockdowns and measures were imposed. As stated by this London-listed gaming company, its annual revenues to the end of June were decreased 48% to £329.6m leading to a loss of £107.3m pre-tax. As the previous financial year was a £13.4m pre-tax profit, Rank Group is potentially hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

- Over thousands of job losses

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, the bingo halls were unable to fully open and these are the grown area where a wide variety of positions are available. Thousands of employees on the bingo halls have, thus, been particularly badly hit by the pandemic quarantines that ran for several months in late 2020. Even some venues were permitted to open; they were affected hard by government restrictions including social-distancing rules that reduce the number of people inside the rooms. There are approximately 350 bingo clubs and halls across the UK and these firms have to endure a gale with difficulty owing to the crisis. As revealed by Buzz Bingo, the greatest chain of bingo clubs in the UK, the company has to close 26 halls throughout the UK leading to a loss of more than 573 jobs. This largest retail Bingo operator announced its plan to reopen the remaining 91 of its 117 bingo halls. In total, thousands of jobs have been lost because the confinement also affected other businesses associated with the bingo companies throughout the UK.

- The rise of the online bingo industry

With lockdowns shuttering bingo halls, the companies have progressively looked to enlarge their online offerings. The closure of the social venues including the bingo rooms as well as the prolonged cancellation of major sporting events pushed people to emerge in the gambling world. In addition, as people were forced to spend more time at home, they feel more isolated and bored so the only solution to forget their concerns is the internet. It is not surprising that the number of online gambling sites has increased with more and more games being released. As stated by the UK Gambling Commission, a considerable rise in the use of web-based bingo and other forms of online gaming activities has been noticed since the pandemic outbreak. The significant growth of the online bingo version has led to the collapse of the bingo halls.

Overall thoughts

The bingo industry is among the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic not only in the UK but also throughout the world. Since the curfew measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus implemented in this country required these venues to close, the lockdowns have cost the British bingo operators millions. With this new variant called Omicron, the experts have extremely concerned about the spread of this virus in the country. Despite the fast-spreading of the Omicron variant in other countries, the lockdown has not yet been planned in England. The bingo operators are hoped to find a solution to survive and thrive through this pandemic.